Turner: Bush Administration Approval Of Port Operations Transfer Wrong For National Security And Economy

TRENTON – In light of the recent outcry over the Bush Administration’s decision to approve the sale of a British company that manages terminals at six U.S. ports, including Port Newark, to a company owned by the United Arab Emirates, Senate President Pro Tempore Shirley K. Turner announced that she will introduce a resolution next Monday calling for management of the ports to return to American companies.

“It is unfathomable that in this day and age, our ports could be run by a foreign-owned company,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer. “Not only is this a danger to our national security, but it further weakens the U.S. economy, robbing American companies of the opportunity to run these ports and sending countless millions of dollars overseas. It’s another example of the failed Bush economic policies that have allowed offshore outsourcing to bloom and cost millions of Americans their jobs.”

Recently, Dubai Ports World, a state-owned property of the United Arab Emirates, announced it was acquiring London-based Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co. (P&O), which manages port operations at six American ports, including Newark, New York and Philadelphia. The Bush administration has approved the sale of the company and has ignored repeated calls to reconsider that decision in light of concerns over domestic security at the ports. U.S. Senator Robert Menendez has introduced legislation that would prohibit foreign governments from operating U.S. ports.

“The American people can’t afford to see control of our most valuable assets sold off piecemeal to rich foreign corporations. In a time of heightened terrorist threats and increased international economic competition, we need to make sure our ports remain secure and strong, serving as economic engines for the region,” added Senator Turner. “I applaud the Port Authority for acting quickly to protect our port by suing to have the lease voided.”

The Bush Administration has until March 2 to contest the sale of P&O to Dubai Ports World, after which the sale will be final.